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Home / SCOOP / SCOOP 2024: What’s it like to be a champion? Winners tell their stories

How does it feel to win a SCOOP title? We’ve been catching up with SCOOP champions throughout the 2024 series to find out…


Jonas “donut604” Mackoff

Event: SCOOP 05-M: $109 PLO [6-Max]
Entries: 1,050
Prize: $17,158

This is third SCOOP title for Canada’s Jonas “donut604” Mackoff and the latest result on an impressive resume. Mackoff has finished 21st in the World Series of Poker Main Event, won two WSOP Circuit Rings, an Aussie Millions ring, and an EPT side events.

He took a year away from poker to pursue another opportunity: interning at a trading firm in New York. But in January this year he recomitted himself to studying the game. This win in the $109 PLO 6-Max for $17,158 shows he’s clearly back where he left off.

“To be honest, on Day 1 (Sunday) I had way too many tables going,” he says. “At the final table I was quite short. I played quite tight, picking my spots, and managed to hang around until three-handed when I won a few all ins at the right time.”

Outside of poker, Mackoff enjoys spending time with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. He also plays hockey and soccer and listens to science/philosophy podcasts – but poker remains his top non-family priority.

“I’ve been a professional poker player for 15 years,” he says. “My ambition is to become the best player I can, and treat it as professionally as I can. To work harder than my opponents in order to achieve longevity. 

“Back when I started it was relatively easy to get by with aggression and experience. I coasted for many years with a medium-high skill level. I would like to become an elite player, or at least work towards it as much as I can.”


Mario “MAnthony89” Menicanin

Event: SCOOP 68-H: $530 NLHE [Turbo Progressive KO Freezeout]
Entries: 402
Prize: $32,863

Mario “MAnthony89” Menicanin took down his first SCOOP title with a victory in Event 68-H – a $530 Turbo PKO. The poker pro from Bosnia and Herzegovina – who has been playing for almost a decade – outlasted 402 entries total to win $32,863.

“Like every poker player, one of the goals is for sure to be COOP champion, so it’s a nice achievement,” he says. “It went pretty well from the start and I got lucky and unlucky a few times, but I was just grinding and taking good spots.”

Menicanin says his trick to poker is to set up small, achievable goals, as well as bigger ones that require energy and determination. “Let’s say one big milestone is to win a COOP Main Event,” he says.

Outside of poker, he enjoys travelling and hopes to play more live poker when he needs time away from the online grind. 


Andrei “Infinity899” P

Event: SCOOP 63-L: $5.50 NLHE
Entries: 7,523
Prize: $5,227

Winning a SCOOP title has been Andrei “Infinity899” P’s dream ever since he began playing back in 2010. 

“I was ecstatic about achieving it,” says Andrei, a software engineer from Romania. “Although it was a low SCOOP event with no life-changing money, it was undoubtedly the best moment of my poker life. Getting a poker trophy is a dream come true.”

And that’s coming from a guy who has won many mid-stakes events, made the final table of the Sunday Million, and recently won a MicroMillions event. However, he’d never picked up a major title, and it turns out that’s something money can’t compete with. “I hope this is just the beginning of many more to come,” he says.

Andrei says the win came after eight hours of intense focus in which he played his A-Game but also ran well in key spots. He played aggressively with two tables left and turned down a deal heads-up before taking it down.

His supportive wife now calls him “champion” instead of “love”.

“Some people go fishing or hiking, but I enjoy playing poker for fun,” he says. “It’s a great hobby that allows me to compete with different types of people, battle for nice prize pools and sweet trophies, keep my mind sharp, and better understand and control my emotions.”


JP “burianjpb” Burian

Event: SCOOP 19-M: $55 NLHE [6-Max Turbo Progressive KO]
Entries: 3,965
Prize: $20,855

Two years ago Brazil’s JP “burianjpb” Burian finished second in a SCOOP event. Unsurprisingly, he was sad to have missed out on a title and the trophy. But this year he’s got both, winning a $55 NLHE 6-max Turbo PKO for $20,855.

“It’s definitely the milestone of my poker career,” he says.

Burian has been playing professionally for five years so he knew what to expect from the late stages of a tournament. However, his computer threw a spanner in the works. 

“I had to change from my desktop to my notebook because of a system problem with my PC,” he says. Burian was sitting out for around 10 minutes during an important time of his deep run. “It was a KO tourney so you mustn’t miss good opportunities to get knockouts.”

Once it was resolved, there was no stopping him. Burian remembers his wife on her knees praying at one point. “I got so emotional at this time and felt that I needed to play my best poker from there on.”

He now hopes to travel the world playing poker with his wife by his side.


Aleksandar “slabinson66” Karov

Event: SCOOP 20-H: $215 NLHE [Action Starter]
Entries: 594 entries
Prize: $20,922

Family comes first for Aleksandar “slabinson66” Karov. 

“I know most successful poker players make a career and tons of money first and then start a family,” he says. “I am doing it the other way around.”

Karov, from Bulgaria, started playing back in 2009 but put the game aside for more than a decade to travel and have two kids with his wife. But now he’s back with a dream of turning pro, leaving his career in rewards, and travelling some more – this time for poker.

“I just want to improve each day…and attend all the EPTs that Pokerstars organise,” he says.

Well, now he’s one step closer AND has a SCOOP title under his belt. Karov topped 594 entries in the $215 Action Starter (#20-H) to win $20,922 – the biggest score of his poker journey yet. But he’s no stranger to big fields and big results.

“I won the Fenomeno and that might be my greatest achievement as the field was so big, it had a lot of professional and top players,” he says. “It felt so food and I felt so proud.”

Karov usually plays anything up to a $215 buy-in and indeed bought in directly to the SCOOP event he won, albeit late. “I late-registered so I started with a smaller stack than everybody on my table except one,” he says. He then doubled up that short stack and was down to just five big blinds.

But anything can happen in tournament poker and after numerous double ups he was not only back in the game but thriving. “When we were near the money I developed a strategy not only to cash but to make the final table,” he says.

Once he’d made the final table there was no stopping him. He eliminated five of the finalists himself before securing the win with pocket aces against pocket nines heads-up. 

Congratulations Aleksandar, we’ll see you on the EPT soon.


“ILoveScarfGuy”

Event: SCOOP 19-L: $5.50 NLHE [6-Max Turbo Progressive KO]
Entries: 9,143
Prize: $4,009

Remember Scarf Guy? That’ll be Sebastian Sorensson, winner of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona (essentially an EPT title) back in 2017. 

Well, “ILoveScarfGuy” is a big fan. So much so that he named himself after him, signing up for PokerStars just as Sorensson was lifting his trophy.

We can’t tell you who “ILoveScarfGuy” is, but we can tell you that he’s definitely not Sebastian Sorensson. 

Sebastian Sorensson – the scarf guy that “ILoveScarfGuy” loves

We can also tell you that he won a WCOOP title in 2020, winning a $215 6-Max event for more than $40,000. “That win brought enough money with it that I could go full time if I continued taking it seriously,” he tells us. “Ever since then I badly wanted to add a SCOOP title as well and now it finally happened.”

Yep, Croatia’s ILoveScarfGuy took down a $5.50 6-Max Turbo PKO for $4,009 – one of his lowest buy-ins of the day. 

“With a huge field it didn’t seem realistic that I’d get far, but when we got down to like 200 players, I started to believe, locked in and was ready to make the best possible decisions. Maybe wanting the title so badly helped me win all those flips that you need to win if you want to be the last one standing in a turbo pko format.”

He continues: “I got to the final table as chipleader and was very confident in my ability to close it down. Things went smoothly until heads-up, which was quite a battle.”

Now that he’s got the big two COOPs out the way, ILoveScarfGuy will continue to play poker professionally. 

“I love the theory of poker,” he says. “it’s a beautiful game, but there’s a step between learning about something new, noticing population and players’ tendencies and then applying proper exploits and playing well. I want to continue improving and I wanna battle against the best players. 

“My ambition is to get to the point where it’s reasonable for me to play EPT main events. I just know I’m going to try my best and that I’m ready to live with the results whatever they are.”

H also hopes to go back to uni one day and study analytics, as he hopes to work for a sports team one day. Right now, though, he’s very happy.

“I am very fortunate and happy to have a family who supports me on my journey. Shoutout to my mom and dad who always believed in me no matter what I did, sometimes even more than I believed in myself.”


“h3pp4p01k4”

Event: SCOOP 32-H: $530 PLO [6-Max  Turbo  Progressive KO  Single Re-Entry]
Entries: 174
Prize: $16,787

“All in all the win felt really good. Almost suprisingly good. After being a professional for over a decade, this was one of the things on the ‘poker bucketlist’ to achieve. I’m very happy that I can tick that box now.”


“Niv-Mizzet D”

Event: SCOOP 15-H: $530 NL 5-Card Draw [6-Max  Progressive KO]
Entries: 43
Prize: $9,012

It all started from a $22 satellite for Finland’s “Niv-Mizzet D”. Thing is, he wasn’t even in the mood to play.

“For me, 5-card draw demands intense focus and I wasn’t sure I’d have that all day,” he says. “But still, I had to register that satellite.”

It’s safe to say he’s now very happy with that decision. Niv-Mizzet D not only won a seat into the $530 NL 5-card draw PKO, but went on to win that too, outlasting the 43-entry field to bank $9,012.

There were a few setbacks along the way, though. He lost 70% of his stack at one point.

“It was in a disgusting manner,” he says. “The cutoff opened to 6,300 off 180,000, and the button went all in for 16,000 with a $125 bounty. I raised to 36,000 from the big blind with 222, and the cutoff pushed all in for 180,000. I ended up calling and lost to 666, I had a bad feeling but couldn’t give it up.

“I like 5-card draw better without bounties because it’s an even worse guessing game with bounties,” he says, laughing. 

Still, a comeback was forged and a maiden SCOOP title after 14 years of playing online poker was won. Coincidentally, the first game he ever played online was 5-card draw.

“I’ve had bigger results, but for me poker is not only about money. So in a way this SCOOP victory feels bigger than anything before.”


Josh “3betwizkid” Boulton 

Event: SCOOP 31-L: $11 NLHE [6-Max Turbo Mystery Bounty]
Entries: 10,928
Prize: $6,784

“I just ran very good – you have to if you want to beat nearly 11,000 people. It’s nice to get my first SCOOP title. I play poker as a job, and my ambition is to win as many SCOOPs and WCOOPS as possible! I won an EPT online event, that was probably my best achievement… that and being around in the game for 10 years plus.”


Walter “Cesar1no” Treccarichi

Event: SCOOP 95-M: $109 HORSE [7-Max]
Entries: 301
Prize: $4,037

Walter “Cesar1no” Treccarichi

Walter “Cesar1no” Treccarichi has been playing poker professionally for 14 years and is a staple on the European Poker Tour (EPT). His best result came in the France Poker Series (FPS) High Roller in Monte Carlo back in 2016, but he has many final tables and side events – especially in mixed games.

Italy’s Treccarichi showed his mixed games prowess this year with a win in the $109 HORSE (#95-M) for $4,037. “It feels really good, I had other two final tables this SCOOP and I finished 2nd and 6th so I really wanted to win the title!”

“I was chip leader in the late stages for most of the time but I had some ups and downs with four left,” he says. “Pretty normal for a HORSE tournament where every big bet is big in that stage.”

Despite so much success – including EPT side event wins and a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet, this is Treccarichi’s first SCOOP title.


Gerard “Kid_Poker47” Barclay

Event: SCOOP 95-L: $11 HORSE [7-Max]
Entries: 1,247
Prize: $1,954

Gerard “Kid_Poker47” Barclay won the second SCOOP of his career when he took down the $11 Limit HORSE for $1,954. His first win came back in 2022 when he won a $22 HORSE event.

But Barclay isn’t just a mixed games specialist. In 2007, he won the Sunday Million and began playing professionally. For 12 years he grinded before deciding to just play recreationally. He now works in a car body shop as a paint sprayer.

“I’d still love to tour the live circuit,” he says, admitting he only really plays online poker during SCOOP and WCOOP. “But I also want to become a four-time SCOOP champion.”

Barclay came very close to winning a third title this year too, finishing second to “fitzinator18” in a $215 Limit 8-Game event (#73-H) for $5,189.


Miggy “MiggyAsncn” Asuncion

Event: SCOOP 99-L: $5.50 NLHE [Turbo  Mini Fenomeno SE]
Entries: 6,757
Prize: $4,711

“This win meant so much to me, I was so filled with joy that I slammed my table harder than I should’ve! I’ve always been competitive and wondered what it felt like to win a poker tournament. Finally, I know. As a player who mostly plays low-stakes tournaments, being a SCOOP champion has allowed me to test out mid-stakes and see if I can hang with the players. Of course, much studying is still needed but it’s a challenge I’m excited to face. 

“I felt like I ran bad early and ran good late. It’s a good thing it wasn’t the other way around! The best hand was for sure heads up, I had tens while my opponent had kings, and I flopped a ten. If I remember correctly, he covered me by 1-2 big blinds at the time so if I had lost that hand, I wouldn’t have been SCOOP champion. About 2 hands after that, I finally won.

“I co-own a small coffee shop business. I went to law school but realised it wasn’t for me. I’m really just your average person who loves to play poker once I’ve accomplished everything I need to do for the day.

“It is my dream to travel to different countries and play live events there. That is why I believe Power Path is such a unique and amazing concept for poker especially for us low-stakes tournament players like me.”


Jerod “JRIXYZLE” Dobson

Event: SCOOP 97-L: $22 FL Badugi [6-Max]
Entries: 567
Prize: $2,034

I was very happy to win. When I was a professional player (2009 to April 2011) the only tournaments I played were SCOOP and WCOOP. It was always a dream to win one. 

I used to play mixed cash games as a professional. Now I make my living with a real job (I’m a nurse). I hit a few of my poker bucket lists this last year. I won a WSOP circuit ring in 2023. I also won the 2-7 Single Draw mid-stakes WCOOP in 2023. Finally, I had my biggest monetary win in January this year, where I beat 8,000 players in a $22 buy-in New Years Series event. I always wanted to win these events, and I’m so happy that I had some of my poker dreams come true. I don’t consider myself a professional any more though, because I only play during tournament series.

I was playing the medium and low HORSE event immediately beforehand. I was about to quit for the day when I turned on Spraggy TV, a streamer and Pokerstars pro. I didn’t realize there was a badugi game until I saw Spraggy have it on his channel. I used to play badugi, and I expected I would have more experience than most in a large field. 

“I registered near the end of late registration and ran really well to start. Actually, I ran really well the entire tournament. I think at that limit players don’t know to value bet or snow(bluff) at badugi. I was essentially the chip leader from 80 players left. At the 2nd last table, I had a big bluff that worked and a big call. At the final table it was slow, but the biggest hand besides the winning one was a hand where I bet and re-raised the 2nd place with a pure bluff, and if that didn’t work it would have been a lot harder and it gave me momentum to finish it out.  

I don’t aspire to be a professional again. I want to maintain profitability. I’ve always wanted to win a WSOP bracelet. I would have a chance since the events I’m good at(mixed game) have smaller fields. I don’t have a bankroll to play the bracelet events, however, I’ve played in 2 bracelet events there, a shot-take at a HORSE event, and a freeroll for the Tournament of Champions last year. I think I’d have to get lucky in a big SCOOP or WCOOP to ever have the bankroll to get there.”


Steven “Fitzinator18” Fitzpatrick

Event: SCOOP 73-H: $215 8 Game [6-Max Progressive KO]
Entries: 217
Prize: $9,514

“The moment of winning was quite euphoric. Poker is 99% disappointment and 1% euphoria, so you need to savour those moments.

“I’ve actually hardly played mixed games at all, so it was quite the tournament to win. I had played three or four live €40 8-game tournaments a couple of years ago but I had to be reminded of the rules for razz when I sat at a live HORSE tournament a few weeks back. But I do really enjoy them, I’m sure I’ve plenty to learn but there’s definitely an art to the limit games that I previously didn’t appreciate. 

“I’ve been around poker long enough to know that some cards went my way in some important spots, but I’ve felt pretty comfortable in playing mixed games during SCOOP. In fact it’s mostly all I’ve played and enjoyed it a lot. I had a run at the FL08 event earlier in the series but bowed out in 6th. It did feel as though a few weeks of studying mixed games was enough to bring me up to speed, as opposed to if I was just learning hold’em in 2024 I feel would require a much higher time investment to get to a competitive level.

“The high point was, of course, winning. There were a few big bounties along the way that I won too which always felt good. I went into three-handed play chip leader but soon enough found myself 3/3 so being able to fight back and clutch out the win made it all the more enjoyable. And I was more often than not lucky enough to be positioned with the right hand at the right time to knock out pretty much all of the large bounties. I took more than my fair share out of the bounty pool, so overall I took home almost double what second place did.

“There was only one real low point that comes to mind, on the bubble of the tournament we were in an NLHE round and I was comfortable chip leader at my table first or second in chips in the tournament. I was leveraging the bubble to pick up chips and I’m guessing one guy got fed up of that and decided to throw ICM completely out of the window after he opened the button and I jammed on him for his 30bb stack with A3 from the big blind, he snapped me off with KTo, and scooped the pot, putting me back down into the middle of the pack. Just one of those moments where you feel the wind change and that this might be your fall from grace. I did bust that very player later in the tournament so all’s well that ends well. The rest of the tournament went pretty smoothly so can’t complain.

“I was a professional player back in the day, 2011-2015 or so. Since then I veered away from it as a career path but remained in the industry – working for various poker websites for the past few years. Designing and analysing promotions etc. I really enjoy data analytics, likely one of the reasons I became passionate about poker in the first place. I still love playing and think I’ve struck a nice balance at this point. I certainly enjoy poker more these days.

“I’ve still never played the WSOP main event, BUT hopefully that’s on the cards at some point. Other than that, the same as everyone else: Chase those euphoric 1% moments and hope the cards fall your way when you need them to.”

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